Vitamin C is the most well known and the most commonly ingested supplement on the market. If you aren't taking vitamin C as a supplement you have encountered it in other forms such as foods, beverages and candies. Vitamin C has the amazing ability to fight free radical damage in the body. Society today does not consume enough vitamin C and this is causing a lot of damage in the body. For example, by taking 1000mg - 2000mg every day for adults and 500mg every day for children, Americans could cut there doctor bills in half. Vitamin C has been known to reduce fatigue, aches, pains, asthma, colds, flue, and hay fever to name a few. Vitamin C can reduce these aches and pains by reducing free radicals in the body. One way a free radical is created is by breathing oxygen. In the body, oxygen can loose an electron and become unstable called a free radical. The free radical looks for a replacement electron and can attach to any healthy cell in the body causing damage to cells. Vitamin C has electrons it can donate and stabilize the free radical rendering the free radical harmless which can then be excreted out of the body safely. The U.S. Government has set a minimum standard for all vitamins and minerals. The standard is called the recommended daily allowance (RDA). I would like to call it the minimum recommended daily allowance because the standard has been set to a minimum to prevent disease.
The RDA has been set way to low and people today need to remove the misleading notion that you shouldn't take more than this standard. Remember the RDA is a minimum standard to prevent scurvy, which is a nasty skin disorder caused from the lack of Vitamin C in the diet. The recommended therapeutic dose of vitamin C for asthma is starting at 1000mg per day and reach as high as 10,000mg or 10 grams per day. Vitamin C is a great antihistamine and a great antioxidant for the lungs. As blood levels of vitamin C drop histamine levels increase and one can become more prone to allergic reactions, rhinitis (Chronic nasal drip) and asthma attacks. If you suffer from any of these symptoms give vitamin C a try. Take vitamin C at a dose of 1000mg or more for three days straight and watch how your symptoms clear up. There are a dozen human studies showing how vitamin C can improve lung function by taking only 1000mg per day. (1-6) Poor dietary habits are largely to blame for chronic asthma in adults. Adults and children need to consume more raw fruits and vegetables. It is estimated that 20 - 30 percent of Americans consume as little vitamin C as 40mg per day which is below the RDA recommended minimum daily dose. (7-9)
Vitamin C can lessen the severity and incidence of a cold. Research is still out on this subject because they do not use enough vitamin C to be effective for treatment of cold and flu. In high enough doses vitamin C can normalize and boost the immune system. To prevent colds and flu in adults and children one should consume 1000mg per day or ideally 2000mg per day. In several studies 1000mg was given and the duration of the cold was reduced by 6 percent. In another study the dose was 2000mg and the duration of the cold was reduced by 26 percent. (10)
Sever stress, cold weather, and intense athletic training increase the vitamin C requirements of the body. Nine studies with military personnel under heavy exertion experienced a 45 - 91 percent reduction in colds for the men receiving the vitamin C. (11) If you are fighting a cold take 1000 - 5000 milligrams per day spread 3 to 4 times in that day at the onset of cold symptoms. Vitamin C is available in various forms, capsules, tablets and powders.
If you have ever ventured into a vitamin store you know there is quite a selection of vitamin C on the shelves. You might be wondering which one is best for me? Is it ascorbic acid, buffered sodium ascorbate, ester C, or Ascorbyl Palmitate? You will find that ascorbic acid is the least expensive form of vitamin C available on the market. Most individuals will be perfectly fine with consuming large doses of ascorbic acid daily. Ascorbic acid tends to increase stomach acid and can cause some individuals to have an upset stomach. If you have a sensitive stomach then buffered sodium ascorbate or ester C is what one would be looking for. These forms of vitamin C are neutral non acidic and 99% of individuals can take this with out any side effects at any dose. All the previous forms of Vitamin C are water soluble and eliminate out of the body within a few hours, but Ascorbyl Palmitate is different. Ascorbyl Palmitate is a fat soluble form of vitamin C and can even pass the blood brain barrier. Research suggests that this form of vitamin C is more effective of an antioxidant protecting lipids (fats) then water soluble vitamin C. The fact that Ascorbyl Palmitate can pass the blood brain barrier makes it a great antioxidant for the brain. No matter which form of vitamin C you choose, make sure you take at least 1000mgs each day for better health.
1. Ezzo J (2005) From asthma and Alzheimer's: Cochrane vitamin reviews cover an array of topics. J Altern Complement Med 11, 213-216.
2 .Fogarty A, Lewis SA, Scrivener S, et al. (2006) Corticosteroid sparing effects of vitamin C and magnesium in asthma: a randomized trial. Respir Med 100, 174-179.
3. Ram FS, Rowe BH, Kaur B (2004). Vitamin C supplementation for asthma. Cochrane Database syst. Rev (3), CD00093
4. Boskabady MH, Ziaei T (2003). Effect of ascorbic acid on airway responsiveness in ovalbumin sensitized guinea pigs. Respirology 8, 473-478.
5. Fogarty A, Lewis SA, Scrivener SL (2003). Oral magnesium and vitamin C supplements in asthma: a parallel group randomized placebo-controlled trial. Clin Exp Alergy 33, 1355-1359.
6. Ochs-Balcom HM, Grant BJ, Muti P et al. (2006). Antioxidants, oxidative stress, and pulmonary function in individuals diagnosed with asthma or COPD. Eu J Clin Nutr 60, 991-999.
7. Johnston CS, Corte C (1999). People with marginal vitamin C status are at high risk of developing vitamin C deficiency. J Am Dietetic Assoc 99, 854-856.
8. Hampl JS, Taylor CA, Johnston CS (2004). Vitamin C deficiency and depletion in the United States: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988 to 1994. Am J Public Health 94, 870-875.
9. Taylor CA, Hampl JS, Johnston CS (2000). Low intakes of vegetables and fruits, especially citrus fruits, lead to inadequate vitamin C intake among adults. Eur J Clin Nutr 54, 573-578.
10. Hemila H (1999). Vitamin C supplementation and common cold symptoms: factors affecting the magnitude of the benefit. Med Hypotheses 52, 171-178.
11. Hemila H (2004). Vitamin C supplementation and respiratory infections: a systematic review. Mil Med 169, 920-925.
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